Legendary Las Vegas Pub, Birthplace of ‘Mr. Brightside’, Unexpectedly Closes Down

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The vibrant heart of Las Vegas lost a significant piece of its cultural fabric and rock n’ roll legacy as the renowned British pub, Crown & Anchor, abruptly shuttered its doors on July 2nd. A prominent fixture in the city for nearly three decades, its sudden closure leaves an irreplaceable void in the local community.

Located at East Tropicana Avenue and often bustling with patrons since its inception in 1995, Crown & Anchor was more than just a local watering hole. It was the muse behind the best-selling UK single of all time that surprisingly didn’t manage to top its origin country’s charts — a song that Rolling Stone minted as the 378th “Greatest Songs of All Time.”

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This iconic song’s inception traces back to an unforgettable night in the life of Brandon Flowers, the lead vocalist and keyboardist of the popular Las Vegas rock band, The Killers. It began with Flowers, then an impressionable 19 or 20-year-old, walking into Crown & Anchor and catching sight of his then-girlfriend committing an act of infidelity.

The heartache and betrayal experienced by Flowers in the pub’s dim lighting echo throughout “Mr. Brightside,” the first song The Killers ever completed as a group. The song’s heartfelt lyrics served as a vent to his raw emotions, becoming an anthem for the heartbroken and cementing the band’s place in the hall of rock music.

Despite their Las Vegas roots, The Killers were self-proclaimed Anglophiles, with a shared penchant for British synth-pop bands such as New Order and The Smiths. This love for all things British often found them huddled over late-night pints in the cozy Crown & Anchor, a mere 2-mile commute from Flowers’ day gig as a bellboy at Gold Coast Casino.

The creation process of “Mr. Brightside” began when lead guitarist, Dave Keuning, crafted the musical foundation. Upon their collaboration, Flowers infused heartfelt lyrics based on the painfully vivid memory of seeing his girlfriend share an intimate moment with a stranger in the familiar ambiance of the Crown & Anchor. All the while, he was inhabiting a room rented from his sister at a modest $200 per month.

Flowers recalled that unforgettable, bitter night to Q magazine in 2009, crediting his intuition for leading him to the Crown & Anchor and discovering the act of betrayal. As odd as it may sound, Flowers might have to silently thank his former girlfriend for the unexpected inspiration that catapulted him to global musical stardom.

In 2004, their debut single, “Mr. Brightside,” began to resonate across both sides of the Atlantic, peaking at No. 10, after the success of their second single “Somebody Told Me.” While the fever pitch around The Killers may have ebbed and flowed over the past 20 years, “Mr. Brightside” still finds a place in the hearts of their fans. From soccer games in the UK to the University of Michigan Wolverines’ Latenight rallies, the song continues to rouse crowds with its infectious tune and relatable lyrics.

Opening up about his emotional connection to the song in 2023, Flowers revealed to Britain’s Far Out magazine, that his wounds were still fresh when he penned the lyrics. Acknowledging his own connection to “Mr. Brightside,” he believed that its longevity could be attributed to its authenticity. Now, with the closure of Crown & Anchor, an integral part of its origin story may be gone, but the song indisputably continues to be a testament to love, loss, and making art from heartbreak.